Mastering The Lowly

by Hank Allison

Anybody who <iprnd> much time working it garden by hand will have a real need and appreciation for quality hand tools. The best part about buying good hand tools is that they don't cost that much more than cheap tools, and they'll last you a very long time. If you don't tike your rotary tiller, you can still use it because you'll only need it a few times a year but if you don't like your spade, you have a real problem. When buying hand tools, look for quality and a piece that is of the proper proportions for you—sometking that will work with you not against you. lJut on your work clothes and do some spading if at all possible before you buy the spade, it's fust like buying shoes—if they don't fit your individual needs, you'll never use them, no matter how much they cost.

Doing battle with the weeds calls for the right tool, the right chopping method—and the right mental attitude. The right tool should be lightweight, of a handle thickness that's comfortable to you, and a length appropriate to your height. It should be just long enough for you to grasp almost at the end and still be able to stand nearly upright and chop. The longer the handle, the less your leverage on the blade. Keep the hoe sharp. A 45-degree edge slanting toward the handle will make efficient use of your labor and a longer-lasting edge.

The handle of a good tool is worth its weight in gold. Here we see two Bulldog tools flanking a standard hard-f^p/jr^.rjQyc tool, /JIthongh iill three are of construction, the Bulldog gives you more gripping urea, and room to maneuver your hand. The metal support and 'he rivet construction on the standard spade are subject to damage and weakening, while the split wood construction of the Bulldog is pinned for safety, stability, and long life. In addition, the natural split wood handle is more pleasing to the eye.

As for methodology, your ?im is to destroy the root system. To do this without getting tired in the first half hour, tip your hoe blade to one side. Now chop an arc from one side of the row to the other, taking short, easy strokes and bringing your blade into contact with the ground as close to flat as you can. When each stroke stops, your blade edge should be about two inches under the surface and should have traveled about six inches through the soil. Now, on the way back to the right, move your arc forward about three inches and repeat, instead of hitting the weeds head on and actually chopping them, you'll be slicing them off with die sharp hoe blade.

/) The pronged weeding hoe; 2) the Warren cultivating hoe;

3) the garden hoe; 1), 5), and 6) all-purpose garden hoes. True Temper

/) The pronged weeding hoe; 2) the Warren cultivating hoe;

3) the garden hoe; 1), 5), and 6) all-purpose garden hoes. True Temper

Garden Hoe Png

The trick is to never take a swing that causes you real exertion. If you flail at that one big thistle, you'll run out of energy long before you run out of weeds.

S'ever take a swing that causes you rea! exertion. The reason for tipping the blade is to slide it into the ground with the teait possible effort.

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25 of Grandpas Top Tips

25 of Grandpas Top Tips

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